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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 07:39 GMT
Business call for plan on climate
Prince Charles
The business call for action has received royal support
Global businesses have called for a legally binding and comprehensive international deal on climate change.

A binding agreement on emissions reductions would encourage business to invest in low-carbon technologies, a statement from 150 businesses said.

The statement - backed by Prince Charles - will be sent to environment ministers and heads of state ahead of talks in Bali on climate change.

Nokia, Tesco, Lloyds TSB and Nike are among the 150 firms that made the call.

The signatories represent companies from Europe, the US, China and Australia.

Royal support

Action now will stop the worst effects of climate change and at a fraction of the cost of inaction, the Prince of Wales - whose Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change led the statement - wrote in the Financial Times.

"What these signatory companies understand is that the effects of climate change are irreparable and permanent," he wrote.

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"If I have grandchildren one day, I could not bear it if they asked me: 'Why did you not do something when it was possible to make a difference?'

"These business leaders have asked themselves that same question and have had the wisdom to recognise that we are doing this for those who come after us."

Certainty

The UN is due to hold a conference in Bali on climate change next week and this latest business communiqué signals greater corporate awareness of the potential cost of climate change and the need for business practices to change.

BALI COMMUNIQUE SIGNATORIES
Tesco
Sainsbury's
Johnson & Johnson
Anglo American
British Airways
Cadbury Schweppes
eBay
Pirelli
L'Oreal
Diageo
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Key is the creation of a legal framework that will encourage them to invest in environmentally friendly technologies, the statement said.

"A sufficiently ambitious, international and comprehensive, legally-binding United Nations agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will provide business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies," the statement said.

Earlier this week, business lobby the CBI called for businesses to "fundamentally" change their business models to help the UK combat climate change.

New taxes and regulations are needed to reward climate-friendly firms, it said.

The UK is likely to miss its carbon reduction targets for 2020 but could meet its 2050 targets at a manageable cost, the CBI said.

The signs from America are that the business leaders will be rebuffed while President George W Bush is still in charge.

The US head of climate policy has confirmed to the BBC's Environment Analyst that the White House will not agree to binding international emissions cuts during the UN's climate negotiations.

James Connaughton said the US favoured national and sectoral policies - not a one-size-fits-all international target. He said the US would continue to increase the carbon efficiency of its economy but he could not foresee the day when America would stop its growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

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